Think Science, Cosmology and Philosophy | The Thinking Blog ~ Knowledge Grows When Shared
Make Money Online Freelance Jobs

09 July 2007

Think Science, Cosmology and Philosophy

William James famously said that "a great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." It seems that what makes a true thinker is not any one thing, but it certainly means keeping an open mind to new ideas and perspectives. With that in mind, here are some intriguing scientific thought experiments, perplexing cosmological questions and quintessential philosophical dilemmas. In short, here is 'fuel for thought,' if you'll excuse the play on words, from some of the classic thinking disciplines. Hopefully it will have something for each kind of thinker.
Scientific thought experiments are a great way to bring highly complex and specialized questions into the lives of everyday thinkers. By using straightforward analogies experts are able to make truly fascinating problems accessible to the general public. In turn, the visual images these conjure in the mind's eye are compelling on a fundamental level. WIRED has collected some of the most famous of these from history into a simple list, including classics such as Schroedinger's Quantum Cat and Einstein's Light Beam. Respectively, these represent simplified but still very powerful ways of understand scientific issues of significance that are available to all interested thinkers with an imagination.

Cosmological questions are similarly scientific, but deal with big-picture issues regarding the history of time and the nature of the universe. Now, it may not matter to us on a pragmatic level whether the universe is expanding or contracting or precisely how big it is. Still, our psychological understanding of such frequently asked cosmological questions strongly informs our comprehension of reality. Moreover, cosmology rests uniquely at the heart of the other core thinking disciplines, including science, religion and philosophy.

Of course no survey of important thinking issues could be complete without a consideration of philosophy. Many philosophical issues seem timeless, such as the debate over whether we have free will or if our actions are, instead, predetermined. Some even argue that this is a false dichotomy, yet the question is still asked by philosophers and scholars around the world. Likewise issues of truth versus relativism have remained persistent questions for millennia. Wikipedia provides an editable and ever-changing list of classic and contemporary philosophical questions that provides an excellent starting point for people who wish to keep thinking about these and other philosophical questions.

There are, of course, many kinds of thinking beyond those related to scientific, cosmological and philosophical issues. I believe our former president was paraphrasing William James, whether he knew it or not, when John F. Kennedy stated that we "too often enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

What about you? Dare to think about science, cosmology or philosophy?

This post was written by Craig Kohler from Web Urbanist. Craig has an undergraduate degree in philosophy and has just presented his master’s thesis on architecture and urban design. His site deals with cutting-edge issues and flashback then-and-now comparisons.

Loading.. Digg It! Stumble It Reddit